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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The things we take for granted...

My eyes, due to allergies (I'm assuming), have been awful lately.  They are itchy, bloodshot, and fuzzy.  It seems like this past week all I have been doing is been complaining about them.  Poor Brook, haha!

Well anyways,  yesterday I was at my favorite thrift shop, searching for new goodies, and I got a call as I was checking out.  It was from my Aunt Cindy.  A couple of months ago she was having surgery on her carotid arteries in her legs and arms.  As the doctor was putting in the stents they realized that it was rerouting somewhere, that somewhere led them to find a brain aneurism.  Obviously I don't know all the right terms and explanations, all I know is God is good-most people don't know they have an aneurism until it's too late!  The doctor asked her if there is anything that she would like to do before the surgery and she said that she would like to turn 50.  She turned 50 this past week and her surgery is today.  She was calling to talk to me before her surgery.  As we got to talking she shared with me that her biggest fear about the whole surgery was going blind.  She said that she would rather lose her limbs than go blind-it is just a fear of hers.  I sympathized with her and prayed with her, but it didn't really hit me until I was at the beach today.

Of course my eyes were acting up again--the sun, sand, and saltwater don't really help, but they sure are beautiful!  I could sit on the beach for hours doing nothing but looking around me and be completely satisfied-never bored for a minute.  There were dolphins up close by the shore that I saw playing around, I was able to do yoga while watching the waves roll in, and when I glanced up from reading my book I even saw a couple of fat men in speedos that gave me a good chuckle.  God has provided us with such a beautiful earth and the ability to sense it through sight, sounds, touch, and taste, and smell.

No, I don't know this guy, but if you look close you can see the dolphin in the water behind him!

See the dolphin?

As much as I have complained about my eyes itching and bothering me-I realize how blessed I am to be able to see.  My aunt is right life would be so hard without the ability to see. It's something we definitely take for granted.  Please pray for her surgery and recovery!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day...a little late

I haven't gotten the chance to write in the past couple of days, but for good reasons.  Saturday, I woke up early and fed the homeless breakfast in downtown Bradenton.  This was my first week volunteering with Bayside Church, but I am going to continue to do it every week.  Because I was a new face to other volunteers I didn't get much of a chance to interact with the homeless, but rather just other volunteers.  I met two really nice women in their 50's or so who took me out to breakfast afterwards to a cute little place called Norma Rae's.  It was a good start to the day, but then I got slammed at work the rest of the weekend because of Father's day.

Father's day always reminds me of how blessed I really am.  I have the most incredible earthly father, the most forgiving and graceful heavenly father, and last August I gained a phenomenal father-in-law.  I am extremely lucky to have been blessed with these incredible men in my life.  

My dad has always been my hero--he has been a great mentor, provider, husband, boss, father, friend, and so much more to so many people.  I truly believe that this world is a better place because of him.  I am a better person because of him.  It seems like I can go anywhere in Fort Wayne and mention my dad's name and someone says, "Kurt is your dad?  He is such a great guy."  My response: "He truly is!"  
Thank you dad for being the incredible person and father that you are!

My father-in-law has considered me his "daughter" from pretty much day 1 of Brook and I dating--and that has always meant so much to me.  He would do anything for me, and would expect nothing in return.  He is a great father and husband--I am lucky that Brook has such a great model to follow. 

On another note I had an interview yesterday that I am pretty excited about--prayers would be appreciated!!  Thanks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The unexamined life is not worth living

When we moved to Florida Brook had a job lined up with Nestle, I had a couple of interviews, but nothing that really ended up in anything, so I decided to serve for a while.  The service industry can be fun, but also pretty challenging at times.  Last Saturday I called Brook on my way home from work extremely discouraged; my back was killing me, I was tired, and I had waited on the rudest people I have ever waited on.  It's not that they didn't like me, or were downright mean, but just RUDE!!  I just kept thinking to myself "what makes people like that?"  "what did I do?"  I had mentioned to my manager that night how offended I was by these people and she responded, "Usually the rude people love and compliment you."  Funny, huh?  I am usually pretty patient and kill with kindness, but this time it took every single ounce of energy I had to keep a smile on my face and keep servicing their table to the best of my ability.  Funny enough the table left me a decent tip-but at the end of the night I couldn't help think I deserve better than this.  Why am I here?

I had the whole next day off work which never happens on a weekend.  Brook had made plans for us to go to Snook Haven--a little wilderness country place in Venice.  We decided to wake up early, go to church, and then go to Snook Haven.  I had it in my mind that we were going to Bayside, this church in Bradenton we have been trying out.  He had it in his head we were going to First Christian, the church my parents attend in Venice (that we LOVE by the way).  Well after a mix up in times and places we ended up at the later service at First Christian, which neither of us had planned haha!

The 11:00 contemporary service is a newer thing for FCC so there weren't many people there, but we were definitely welcomed with open hearts and smiles.  Well, that is until 10 min into the service when an older couple walked in and sat in front of Brook and I.  I joked to Brook--"Hey, there's us in 50 years!" and he laughed back (anyone who knows us knows that I can never make it to church on time).  During the service "meet and greet" this guy shook hands with, hugged, talked to half the people in the church, and Brook even made a comment about him being a "pimp" with the ladies. Well not 5 more minutes into the service, before the message had even started, this guy was huffing and puffing and saying things just above a whisper like, "who cares!" and other rude comments.  We brushed it off at first, later to realize he only got worse.

The verse of study during the sermon was:
 1 Thessalonians 1:3 : "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  
The sermon was based on that verse and questions such as:
"Why are you here?"
"Why do you do what you do?"
"Why do I do the work I do?" 
"What motivates you to keep on keepin' on?"
Wow!  How powerful are those questions?  I know that they cross all of our minds, but do we really take the time to examine our lives and figure out why we do what we do?  Is it because we have to?  Is it because we want to?  Or is it inspired by the faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ?

I challenge you to ask yourselves these questions as we asked ourselves the same questions, because as Socrates once said:

"The unexamined life is not worth living." 
I started to think about my discouragement from the night before and I asked myself "Why am I server?" "Why do I put up with these rude people  for little reward?"

OK, well first came to mind is that I need the income.

Upon examination there was so much more there, and it clicked when the pastor said these word, "Our actions will always reveal what we believe."  My actions create a response in my coworkers everyday.  Comments like: "you're too nice" "I wonder what it's like to see you mad?" "You're a great worker" "You're a sweetie" and if they do something foul around me they say they feel bad like they are "corrupting me."  My actions, admittedly probably not always, but most of the time reveal my belief in Jesus Christ and the power of his love and grace.  On the same token God has me talking to and serving hundreds of people every week who see my actions that reveal what I believe.  Although I don't always realize it and I may get discouraged from time to time God has me where he wants me to be right now-even if it's not where I think I should be.

Throughout this message this guy in front of us just kept his huffing and puffing and "whispering" rude comments: "Unbelievable," "What kind of prayer is that?"  and so on...

Brook and I were shaking by the end of the service we were so offended by this guy.  The funny thing is we had laughed about that being us in 50 years just 20 minutes or so earlier.  That guy, although he annoyed us beyond belief served as a symbol of what neither of us ever want to become.  If I had let those rude people from the night before get to me and prompt rudeness in myself--I would be just as guilty.

I know this was a long post but I think it's really eye opening to take your eyes off of the destination for a while and take a look at the journey you are on.  Where are you on your journey and why?  There is a reason--the destination will come!

This is Snook Haven by the way!

Snook Haven

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Using my degree!

So friends and family and anyone who knows me really knows that I detest talking on the phone.  In fact, sometimes I wish I didn't have a cell phone because then I wouldn't be obligated to answer it the 50 million times it rings a day.  Luckily and annoyingly my husband and I just moved to Parrish, Florida where we bought a home back in the country of Florida that has little to no cell phone reception.  I say luckily because I have an excuse to get off the phone fast, annoy because realistically I have to use my cell phone even if it drops a call 3 times within a 3 minute conversation.

OK rants aside I do love my friends and family and I do love to stay in touch with them-so this is why I am creating this blog.  Brook (my husband and who I refer to as Dale above) and I are in the midst of starting our new life in Florida--new home, new jobs, new friends-the whole deal.  I figured I would put the Journalism degree to use and create a blog as a means to stay connected and keep friends and family up to date with what is going on in our lives.

I will try to post pictures, keep you up to date on current events, but there are some days you might just get whatever random thought is on my mind because lets face it--I have little to no friends here yet and some things just need to be shared : )

Brook & I on the beach--actually on our honeymoon--Florida pictures coming soon!